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ven. 21/10/2022 Dynamic Deixis in the expression of motion events: A typological study of Standard Chinese
Amphithéâtre Benveniste, Université Lyon 2 (7 rue Raulin, 69 007 Lyon)
Soutenance de doctorat de : Jinke SONG

This dissertation consists of a typological description of Dynamic Deixis (i.e., a direction along an axis defined by its relation to the deictic center (or viewpoint)) in the expression of motion events in Standard Chinese. It is conducted within the framework of the typology of motion events (Talmy 1985, 2000) and the typology of displacement encoding (Wälchli 2001). The main objective of this dissertation is to examine how Dynamic Deixis is conceptualized and encoded by speakers of Standard Chinese. Furthermore, in light of previous studies that have discussed the relationship between Dynamic Deixis and Path (Koga et al. 2008; Lamarre 2008; Morita 2011; Matsumoto et al. 2017), I also aim to investigate how those two semantic components relate to each other. More specifically, I attempt to explore the similarities and differences between the expression of Dynamic Deixis and that of Path by examining the following three aspects: (1) coding strategies; (2) distribution patterns; and (3) spatial (a)symmetries. The study is based on two types of data: (1) descriptions elicited using two visual tools "Trajectoire" (Ishibashi et al. 2006) and "Put & Take" (Bowerman et al. 2004), and (2) dialogues extracted from two TV series "Married for Ten Years" (2002) and "Loquacious Zhang Damin's Happy Life" (1998). By comparing these two types of data, descriptions and dialogues, and by conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses, this dissertation sheds new light on the encoding of Dynamic Deixis and contributes to a better understanding of how this notion is conceptualized linguistically in Standard Chinese. Moreover, the analysis of the expression of Dynamic Deixis and that of Path shows that, contrary to the typological approach proposed by Talmy (2000), those two semantic components differ significantly from each other in their linguistic realization, and thus supports the idea that they should be treated separately. This research, which represents a first systematic study of the expression of Dynamic Deixis in Standard Chinese, contributes not only to the typological research of this phenomenon in the languages of the world, but also to the knowledge of this field in Sinitic linguistics. It also makes a new theoretical contribution to this field concerning the role of deictic anchoring in human communication.

Key words: (a)symmetry, coding strategy, descriptive data, dialogical data, Dynamic Deixis, Path, pattern of distribution, Standard Chinese


Bowerman, M., Gullberg, M., Majid, A., & Narasimhan, B. (2004). Put project : The cross-linguistic encoding of placement events. In A. Majid (Éd.), Field Manual Volume 9 (p. 10‑24). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

Ishibashi, M., Kopecka, A., & Vuillermet, M. (2006). Trajectoire : Matériel visuel pour élicitation des données linguistiques. Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, CNRS / Université Lyon 2. Projet de Fédération de recherche en Typologie et Universaux Linguistiques. http://tulquest.huma-num.fr/fr/node/132

Koga, H., Koloskova, Y., Mizuno, M., & Aoki, Y. (2008). Expressions of spatial motion events in English, German, and Russian : With special reference to Japanese. In C. Lamarre, T. Morita, & T. Ohori (Éd.), Typological Studies of the Linguistic Expression of Motion Events, Volume II: The Linguistic Expression of Autonomous Motion in Murakami Haruki’s Norwegian Wood ―― A Contrastive study of Japanese, French, English, Russian, German and Chinese (Vol. 2, p. 13‑44). Tokyo: 21st Century COE Program Center for Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences at the University of Tokyo.

Lamarre, C. (2008). The Linguistic Categorization of Deictic Direction in Chinese : With Reference to Japanese. In D. Xu (Éd.), Space in Languages of China : Cross-linguistic, Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives (p. 69‑97). Dordrecht: Springer.

Matsumoto, Y., Akita, K., & Takahashi, K. (2017). The functional nature of deictic verbs and the coding patterns of Deixis : An experimental study in English, Japanese, and Thai. In I. Ibarretxe-Antuñano (Éd.), Motion and Space across Languages : Theory and applications (p. 95‑122). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Morita, T. (2011). Intratypological Variations in Motion Events in Japanese and French. Manner and Deixis as Parameters for Cross-Linguistic Comparison. CogniTextes. Revue de l’Association française de linguistique cognitive, 6. (doi: 10.4000/cognitextes.498)

Talmy, L. (1985). Lexicalization patterns : Semantic structure in lexical forms. In T. Shopen (Éd.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Vol. III: Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon (p. 57‑149). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol. II: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Wälchli, B. (2001). A typology of displacement (with special reference to Latvian). Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung (STUF), 54(3), 298‑323. (doi: 10.1524/stuf.2001.54.3.298)



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